Suppliers will convince themselves that having a member of staff touch every quote and transaction is better for customer service but that may not be how resellers, dealers and end customers see it. Manual processes introduce time and mistakes, plus the cost of them either depresses your margin or makes you uncompetitive.
Also, job satisfaction is low for staff doing repetitive tasks that could be automated. Human intervention is required to manage the exceptions, not standard processes.
The minimum requirement of a portal is to generate quotes and place orders automatically 24/7. The next stage for Jola is always to then get APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) from the networks so that information can be retrieved and orders placed by us automatically.
From there the self-service portal needs to be developed in two ways;
1. Software to help Partners differentiate their own proposition.
An example of this is the new breed of dealer portal. An IT or voice supplier can be sat with a customer and as they talk, build an online quote on their laptop or mobile that automatically checks the availability of internet connectivity, sets up new numbers and arranges porting. The system picks up key words and emails a customised, dealer-branded, proposal to the customer. The customer can then review, amend, click to accept the Ts and Cs and the order is placed. Often the first supplier to meet and quote a prospect wins the business and vertically integrated portals facilitate this.
2. Next generation portals for the management of mobile data.
Mobile Manager was only fully launched late in 2016 and already manages around 20,000 mobile data SIMs worldwide. Mobile Manager automates the SIM-only process allowing users to monitor individual usage, activate, pause and bar SIMs. Importantly they can also prevent expensive out-of-bundle charges. 4G can provide as fast and as stable a connection as fibre broadband but until now the monthly rental and extortionate overages have put resellers and customers off. Mobile Manager has changed all that.
Over the years we have learned a lot about development tools. At Jola we now use flexible purpose-built tool sets that enable us to continuously improve our portals without a tedious version control process or fear of breaking everything each time we do.